In today’s society and throughout history, funeral directors have gotten a bad rap. Thanks to scary stories, movies, and breathless tabloid headlines, funeral directors are still thought of by many people as dark shadows of the night come to “undertake” your loved one into the mysterious lair that is the back of the funeral home (where they most certainly live, by the way).
More realistically, they are thought of as antisocial creeps, or shady salespeople at best.
But with the exception of a few (and they shall remain unnamed), most funeral directors are normal hard-working men and women, just like you and me, trying to make a small difference in this world while also making a living for their own families.
Here is a list of seven things you didn’t know about funeral directors and the necessary work they do.
Euphemisms for death abound. This is because there are many ways we talk about death.
Sometimes we talk evasively, in a way that avoids really talking about death. Other times we are trying to be polite and sensitive, especially around the family of the one who has died. Still other times we turn it into a big joke, blunting the razor edge of death’s horror with humor.
We can talk about death clinically, with a focus on the physical symptoms that avoids the emotional aspect. And of the flip side we can use purely emotional, whimsical terms like “living on in our hearts” as a way to deflect the crushing reality.
Written by Caitlin Doughty, who worked as a crematory operator and is now an “alternative” funeral director, author, and YouTube personality, the theme of the book is not really cremation or funerals or gory details, though it definitely includes that. The main theme is death itself. Specifically, how our culture interacts with death (or tries to avoid it), and what things might be like if we looked death – in all of its messiness – straight in the face.
In large part a memoir of Ms. Doughty’s first six years working in the funeral industry, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes functions in turns as an exposé of the funeral industry, a defense of a healthy interest in death, and an inside look at interesting funeral and memorial observances of various individuals, families, and cultures, as seen through the eyes of a crematory worker.
These things are all tied together by a question: Does the contemporary funeral industry help us die well?
Funeral directors are classy. Well-dressed, professional, caring, compassionate, all while being almost continuously on-call. These are the best of the best. The funeral professional you know and love – a.k.a. mortician, funeral director, undertaker, call them what you will – deserves a gift to match. Continue reading 21 Classy Gift Ideas for Funeral Directors
Funeral directors, morticians, and embalmers are just like regular people. No, seriously! They have families, watch Netflix, enjoy a night out eating sushi, and wear t-shirts on their day off. If a funeral director is going to wear a t-shirt, it had better be a good one. A comfortable fit, a complementary color, a quirky quote that speaks to the heart of their macabre yet service-oriented calling in what has been termed, “The Dismal Trade.”
For the very best funeral director t-shirts, look no further. We’ve rounded up the best designs and favorites from around the web. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or for a friend, these are the best funny mortician shirts in existence. Continue reading The 25 Best Funeral Director T-Shirts
A memorial made from cremated ashes is simply the ultimate way to keep your loved one close to your heart. Here are 15 creative and unique memorial ideas made using actual cremated remains. These include decorative accents, jewelry, and even trees. Continue reading 15 Memorial Ideas Made From Cremated Ashes
Movies about death, dying, and grief can be a helpful recourse for dealing with your own loss, or learning about the grief experienced by others. They can provide a way to become more informed about the human experience, to raise questions about the purpose of life, to contemplate the afterlife, or to become more empathetic. Continue reading Movies About Death, Dying, & Grief